I decided to make this pasta dish for dinner a few days ago after watching Giada De Laurentiis make it on her cooking show. ‘Giada at Home’ is one of my favorite shows to watch on The Food Channel – I love how she uses simple, fresh ingredients, and most of the things she makes can be made in 30 minutes or less. This particular recipe took only 20 minutes to make and it was delicious! It’s a simple vegetarian pasta dish with a sauce that is very similar to pesto. The sauce is filled with flavors that I love – basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, olives and lemon. It’s the perfect meal to make on a busy weeknight, and the leftovers are excellent for lunch the next day too. The linguine would also be great topped with grilled boneless skinless chicken. I am already planning to make this again very soon!
Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Lemon
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped or julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1 cup (4 ounces) medium green Italian olives, pitted
- 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Juice of half of a lemon
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl.
- In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse until blended but still a little chunky.
- Add the Parmesan cheese to the pasta and toss well. Pour the tomato mixture on top and toss until the pasta is coated. If the sauce is dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Published August 16, 2010
Tags: Beef, Pasta, tomatoes
Saucy Italian Orzo
This is a great recipe for a weeknight meal because it’s easy to make and most of the ingredients are common pantry staples. It’s packed full of flavor, and the spinach provides a healthy dose of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Each serving contains just 340 calories, and it’s low in fat and high in protein. It only takes 30 minutes to make, and the leftovers are great the next day. Enjoy!
Saucy Italian Orzo
- 1 pound ground beef (or ½ lb. ground beef & ½ lb. Italian sausage)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes with basil, oregano & garlic
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
- Stir in the tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, orzo and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until orzo is tender. Add spinach; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.
Source: Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Magazine, January/February 2010
Lately I have been posting so many dessert recipes, that I figured it’s time to show you what I’ve been cooking for dinner! Last night I made this recipe for Italian Sausage Ragu. I’ve made it several times before, and it’s one of my favorite pasta recipes. It has a lot of the flavors I like, including bell peppers, garlic, Parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, & parsley. And unlike many red sauces, it doesn’t have to simmer for very long, so it’s great for a quick dinner. It also makes excellent leftovers. Enjoy!
Italian Sausage Ragu
- ½ lb. dry penne, ziti, or fusili pasta
- ½ lb. Italian sausage, removed from the casings
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ¾ cup cremini mushrooms, diced
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tsp. garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 tsp. sugar
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Brown the sausage in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, breaking it apart into small pieces. Add the bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms to the pan with the sausage and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.
- Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the penne pasta (or ziti or fusili).
- Deglaze with wine, and then increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and sugar; bring to a simmer and cook approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
- Season the ragu with salt & pepper, stir in the parsley, and serve over pasta. Garnish each serving with Parmesan cheese.
Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine, October 2007 issue
Published May 19, 2010
Tags: Meat, Pasta
Pappardelle Pasta with Meat Ragu
Despite my terrible photo of this recipe, it was actually really good! It’s challenging to take decent photos of food when you are working with a basic point-and-shoot camera and don’t have good lighting. Plus, I was hungry (and a little impatient! :) ), and the ragu smelled amazing- I couldn’t wait to try it! This was one of the best new recipes I’ve tried in a while– I can’t wait to make it again, and next time I am for sure making extra so that I can stash some in my freezer for another meal.
It was Eric’s idea to make ragu, and since I love meat sauces with pasta, I was all for it. I grabbed a couple cookbooks from my collection that I thought would have good ragu recipes: Cooks Illustrated Italian Classics and The Williams Sonoma Cookbook. I ended up choosing a recipe from the Williams Sonoma Cookbook. One of the stars of this meal was definitely the pappardelle pasta. I think pappardelle has such a great texture, and it really holds onto the sauce well. Try this recipe, I promise you’ll like it!
Pappardelle Pasta with Meat Ragu
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ pound ground beef
- ¼ pound ground turkey
- ¼ pound ground pork
- ½ cup red wine
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups canned whole plum tomatoes,
chopped, with juices
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
- 1 pound pappardelle pasta
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, until the onion is golden and the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the beef, pork, and turkey and cook, stirring to break up any chunks, until the beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the sauce has thickened and slightly reduced, 1 ½ hours or more. Then taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the basil.
- About 10 minutes before the sauce is ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle according to package directions.
- Pour 2 cups of the ragu sauce into a large serving bowl. Drain the pasta and then add it to the bowl. Toss to coat the pasta evenly and sprinkle with ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Spoon more sauce on top and serve at once, passing additional cheese at the table.
Recipe adapted from: The Williams Sonoma Cookbook
Published April 7, 2010
Pasta , Shrimp , Wine
Tags: easy, Pasta, Shrimp, white wine
Shrimp Scampi with Linguini
This is one of my favorite recipes. I first made it during my senior year of college and have made it dozens of times since then. I found the recipe after watching Tyler Florence make it on the Food Network channel on TV. It is a simple shrimp and pasta dish, but it looks and tastes like it came from a nice restaurant. It only requires a few ingredients, and it’s super easy to make. In the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, it is practically ready! I like to purchase shrimp that is already deveined and peeled (usually it still has the tail on though). Most of the time I buy frozen shrimp (Costco is a good place to purchase it) and then all you have to do is stick it in a bowl of water to thaw, pinch the tails off, and the shrimp is ready to be cooked. This recipe is really good served alongside some garlic bread and steamed vegetables. I hope you like this recipe as much as Eric and I do!!
Recipe from: Tyler Florence, The Food Network
Shrimp Scampi with Linguini
- 1 pound linguini
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley leaves
- For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; then add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm.
- Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little bit more olive oil and serve immediately.
Published March 15, 2010
Italian , Pasta
Tags: bell pepper, easy, Pasta, zucchini
Orzo Stuffed Peppers
The other day I was flipping through one of my cookbooks (Giada’s Kitchen) and came across this recipe for stuffed peppers. I happened to already have all of the ingredients in my fridge/pantry, so I decided to make it for dinner that night. Like my other recipe for stuffed peppers, this recipe is very easy to make. But these peppers are actually quite different from the other ones. This recipe uses orzo (rice shaped pasta) instead of rice, it has canned tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, there is no meat like the other one, and some of the flavorings are different. If I had to choose between the two recipes, I think I would prefer the other one, but this is definitely a good alternative, and it was fun to try something new!
Adapted from: Giada de Laurentiis (Giada’s Kitchen cookbook- pg. 132)
Orzo Stuffed Peppers
- 1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
- 3 zucchini, grated
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley or mint leaves
- ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
- 6 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using a pair of kitchen shears or your finger tips. Add the zucchini, parsley or mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables. Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.
- Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up.
- Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer the orzo stuffed pepper to a serving plate.
This is what the filling looks like before you stuff the peppers.
Published January 18, 2010
Pasta , Sauces
Tags: Italian, Pasta, sauce, tomatoes
I love Italian food, and tomato sauce is something I use a lot in my kitchen. There are so many different things you can make with basic tomato sauce, such as chicken parmesan, lasagna, baked pasta, pizza, or simply boiled pasta topped with tomato sauce and cheese.
I often use store bought tomato sauce (my favorite is Rao’s Tomato Basil), but tomato sauce is super easy to make from scratch. It only requires a few ingredients, and most of them are pantry staples.
This is a simple recipe for basic tomato sauce. The sauce takes less than 30 minutes to make, and then it just has to simmer for 30-45 minutes. The recipe makes a lot of sauce, and it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for several months.
Adapted from: The Food Network, Mario Batali
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 carrot, shredded (using a box grater)
- 1 – 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (including juice)
- 1- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (including juice)
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, but not brown (about 10 minutes). Season with salt & pepper.
- Add the garlic, thyme, Italian seasoning, and carrot, and sauté 5 minutes more.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, and basil. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you want your sauce to be less chunky, blend with an immersion blender.
- Serve immediately, or set aside for further use. The sauce may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to 6 months.
Serving idea: serve this tomato sauce with boiled pasta and top with parmesan cheese & parsley